My Daughter: One of My Greatest Teachers
Earlier today watching my daughter play in the water at a social event to which my family had been invited, I noticed how she was surrounded by people who cater to her every whim. To be honest, I couldn’t stand it, and it was with every fiber of my being that I did not say something. She was in a raft, which belonged to a family that had nothing to do with our group. She simply wanted to go into it, and one of the adults supervising the children playing in the river, gladly plopped her into it with the family smiling awkwardly. Sitting on the grassy bank a few feet from the river and my daughter and this family that had now taken on an invited guest, I watched as the two men pushed my daughter back and forth in the water. They happily complied to her demands, but I was fuming. I was too far to hear what she was saying, but it didn’t seem like she was at all grateful for what they were doing for her. She simply expected it. I was a little embarrassed that my child was ordering around adults and children, the little boy whose raft she had so boldly taken for her own had joined his father in the task of pushing her when his father or the man who had taken the main job of meeting my daughter’s needs was unable to get to her in time. I watched this little dance unfold for as long as I could, and then too uncomfortable to continue watching, took out my phone and tried to read an article I had downloaded earlier.
That didn’t last long, as I could not help glancing up from time to time. On the umpteenth time that I looked up to check on her, I saw my daughter throw her doll into the water beyond her reach, and then demand others around her to either push her toward her doll or bring her doll to her. This was too much, and I called out to her to stop explaining that it was rude to expect others to get her doll when she was purposely throwing her out of reach. It was one thing to drop it by accident, but to do it on purpose was just too much. She complied, and continued to be pushed by the two men looking out for her and the little boy who seemed to be enjoying pushing her in the raft, and seemed okay with her using his stuff. After this incident, I turned off my phone and put it away taking a moment to examine the source of my dismay and embarrassment at my daughter’s behavior. More than once I thought of her as a little princess getting her needs met through others around her. I listened to my inner thoughts and wondered from where they originated.
I realized I was embarrassed because I wanted her to be gracious. I had no objection to her getting help from those around her, but I did take issue with the way she did it. She never requested the help, she demanded it. She had only to express a desire or need, and several people would come running to her aid. It was amazing to see all the people who happily gave her whatever her little heart desired.
A part of me; the curious aspect of myself, wondered why this was a problem. Meeting our needs is a basic and fundamental human concern, and my daughter is a mistress at it. She knows what she wants and she gets it usually by asking for it directly and of anyone who is willing to meet her needs. It is something that was beat out of me. It was forbidden and shameful in my childhood to even voice my needs let alone expect others to meet them, so now as an adult, I am learning how to do what comes so easily to my daughter.
As the day continued, I observed my daughter not from a place of judgment, but of curiosity, and what I discovered was that she manages to attract the kind of people who enjoy helping others and meeting others’ needs. When I viewed my daughter’s behavior through the lens of a student rather than a mortified parent, I learned that she simply expresses a need and people voluntarily meet her needs. When I was close enough to hear what she was saying to people, it became clear that she didn’t even ask, she simply said, “That looks good,” or “That would be fun,” and the adult nearest her would reach out and give her the food she was eying or assist her with the activity on which she had been commenting. I still wanted her to be gracious, and show her appreciation for what others were doing for her, but I appreciated my daughter’s ability to meet her own needs so easily.
If I believed in the Law of Attraction, I would say that my daughter’s thoughts are in direct alignment with her needs and meeting her needs, so the universe complies and makes it possible for her needs to be met. She lives in a world where her needs are met a majority of the time otherwise she wouldn’t take this fact for granted. Instead of being mortified by her behavior, I should at the very least be grateful that she is healthy enough to expect her needs to be met. Although I would prefer she would be more grateful for what she receives, I’m rather glad she takes getting her needs met as a given.
I have to be honest though, I still wonder if we are not creating a monster, but then I see her with her baby brother and other small children. I see her taking care of others around her, and sharing her gifts with her friends. I remember that she often thinks of drawing pictures for her friends, and giving things to her teacher and her grandparents. She is loving and compassionate, and although she often forgets to say thank you, on occasion she does give back. So, I don’t think she’s a brat or selfish. She is a mistress at meeting her own needs; she is my daughter, and a wonderful teacher. I’m grateful for the lesson she taught me today, and that is to meet my needs without apologies. She taught me that I should not only meet my needs, but I should expect them to be met, and once I have aligned my thoughts with the undeniable belief that my needs will be met, those who would happily meet them will come into my life and make it so. I think we all could use such a lesson.